As the Alabama football team puts the finishing touches on their preparation to face another scrambling quarterback in the Michigan Wolverines’ Denard Robinson, much of the success or failure may be determined by backup quarterback Blake Sims.
“Blake Sims has given us some real good looks. He’s broken some big plays on us (the defense) the past couple days” Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson said. “He’s done it in the past as well, simulating guys like Cam Newton.”
As mentioned earlier this week, Alabama has developed into a team that has put a stop to scrambling quarterbacks; something can be attributed to the work Sims has put in behind the scenes. Whether it is Newton in 2010 or Jordan Jefferson in 2011, Sims is the one that simulates the playmaking quarterbacks in practice, giving Nick Saban and Kirby Smart’s defense the perfect test before game time.
“Blake is fast, a real athletic guy and we are fortunate to have a guy like him to simulate what Denard Robinson does on the field” noted Alabama defensive end Damion Square. “We’ve been chasing him around, getting that cardio in, so he’s been really effective”
The reason Sims is so valuable is because he is not just a duel threat, he is also an imposing athlete. When other teams prepare for a quarterback like Robinson, they often have to shuffle in a quarterback and running back for their scout team quarterback. While in theory that should be effective, using two different players allows the defense to cheat a little, never giving a true test. Sims is a legitimate threat to run or pass at any time, allowing the Tide to properly prepare for what they will see in a live situation.
Since Sims arrived on campus Alabama has gone 26 games without allowing a quarterback to rush for more than 4 yards a carry (Jordan Jefferson 3.9 in 2010 has been the most allowed). Come Saturday evening against Denard Robinson, Alabama will look to extend that streak to 27.
If that happens, just don’t forget about Blake Sims.